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Opinions of Monday, 25 September 2017

Columnist: Koku Mawuli Nanegbe

Presidential pelting in search of justice for Dr Anyimadu and others abused

“The NPP government will secure peace and security for all Ghanaians. Under the NPP government, Ghanaians will feel safe on the streets and in their homes. Ghanaians will go about their daily business in the secure knowledge that their persons, properties and lives are safe under an NPP government,” this is contained under the chapter on Security in the 2016 NPP manifesto.

Eight months into the administration of the AkufoAddo’s government, I have been wondering if the government has forgotten or do recall at all making such a promise? This is because on daily basis people are having to endure the very opposite of what was promised to the extent that fundamental human rights and freedoms, guaranteed by the 1992 constitution of Ghana are being trampled upon.

Dr Amos Anyimadu, a lecturer at the political science department of University of Ghana [UG] is the latest victim of unabated, flagrant physical abuses by state security officials of Ghanaians.

Kindly read for yourself his harrowing experience just this week as posted on his Facebook wall to see if you would not concur that we are having to our neck the senselessness for which President AkufoAddo must take action! It could happen to anyone.

DrAnyimadu: Well, I went to Essikado to see the President "thank" the people. I assumed the function would take place in a popular place such as the Positive Action Spot, the main roundabout, or at the Essikado Palace at Ahenkro. In fact the ceremony was taking place in front of Nana Nketsia's private residence at the Ridge area of Essikado.

I am suffering from a bad knee. When we got to the junction of Nana Nketsia's house I was told we could not drive to the place. I asked my driver to park on the main road, near Essikado Hospital, which is about one hundred and fifty meters from where the ceremony was taking place. With my mobile phone I took a 360 degree video of about two minutes. Soon thereafter two smelly drivers accosted me very violently saying I had taken in their car and that I should surrender my phone for them to check it.

I refused. They called a policeman who I now understand is part of the Security detail at Flag Staff House. He was very reasonable. I gave him my phone and he deleted the video against my insistence that I was in a public place and believed he was violating my rights. A second animalistic policeman came on the scene.

He immediately said I should be given some slaps for answering back to the first policeman. The first policeman prevailed on him that I should be taken to their boss who was at the function about one hundred and fifty meters away. When we got there they could not find their boss from Accra but found the Police Commander from Sekondi.

This Commander, Mr. Tetteh, also had a huge difficulty dealing with a citizen who would answer back. At this point I saw the President's Protocol Officer, Mr. Hassan. I went to complain to him. He explained that if I did not have accreditation then I should not have taken a video. At this stage a second, even more animalistic Policeman, came on the scene. He appeared very worried that I had not meekly obeyed the police and proceeded to handcuff me.

He said I should be taken away and "finished off". At this point two civilian operatives, who appear to be from Flagstaff House Security came on the scene and took charge. They came with the false intelligence that I was an NDC operative who had been trailing the Presidential team. Correctly they said that I was at Atlantic Hotel last night and incorrectly said I had been trailing the Presidential convoy the whole day.

They went through my phone which had been seized by the Police. Went through my laptop. I THEN HEARD THEM TELL THE POLICE GOONS THAT I am not an NDC man and they should let me go. The Policeman who handcuffed me then said the keys to the handcuffs were in Accra and that I had to be taken to Accra.

The civilian operatives had to beg him to eventually unlock the handcuffs. As I kept insisting on my rights as a Ghanaian they then ordered the Sekondi Police Command to "process" me. I was taken to the Sekondi Police Station where they took about two hours to take statements from me and the driver. They have now released me on "self-recognition bail."

Aside DrAnyimadu’s is one which gets tears welling up in the eyes on recollection. A photo journalist, Kendrick OfeiAnsah, during the March 6 celebration, this year was commanded by soldiers from the Black Stars Square to castle and molested for shooting a video of same soldiers molesting a civilian at the beach. On top of his beatings was asked to crash with stone his iPhone to destroy any likely evidence.

Starr fm, 103.5MHz after the sad incident interviewed Deputy Defense Minister; Hon Major Derrick Oduro on the attacks, his remark was that loud mouthed journalists would always be beaten.

The Deputy Minister’s reaction generated uproar for which some have petitioned the President to disappoint him. The petition was ignored; Ghanaians rather had a well-served disappointment.

Lest I forget that GTV cameraman, Samuel OduroAmofa suffered manhandling in the line of duty by the security detail on the day of inauguration of President AkufoAddo.

The helplessness of many Ghanaians including state security officials and being at the mercy of party hoodlums in the names of vigilante groups is a daily occurrence.

But one would like to ask which kind of human right lawyer, advocate as a leader have we as a people? Respectfully, you tell me! I am only reminded of the same stone silence in the 2007 gruesome Gambia killing of Ghanaians.

If you ask me, the offending security men are not really to blame in the senselessness engulfing our country today. There seemed to be no sense of direction at that front. Morale is at its lowest ebb. The height of it perhaps was when the Inspector General of Police [IGP] David Asante Appietu and his dispatch team on their way from Accra towards Aburi got stranded in MadinaZongo junction traffic.

Adenta, Oyarifa, Amrahia, Dodowatrotro drivers who are the daily creators of the traffic never appeared boarded by the situation of the IGP who became ordinary as “Kofi EvagloNyawuame,” “Yaw KorkortiAsemboni” and others whose trotros were emitting heavy fumes like industrial chimneys.

The Madina Police commander had had to suffer a summons, on his return; he extended his venom to the trotro drivers, asking his men to carry out an operation around the junction, will return to the extortions that exercise was reduced to someday.

The irony however to the senselessness we are witnessing today, as an opposition leader, Nana AkufoAddo and the NPP said it was just not enough to have President John Mills to personally call a Multi-media reporter to apologize to him over an unfortunate incident on the part of his security detail just as the then Vice President, John Mahama did for an amicable settlement when his security men and former footballer, Samuel OseiKufour had an altercation.

For me, because certain actions previously sought by the victims and the concerned public could not get the attention of the President, three distinct thoughts/actions have occupied my mind in seeking justice for the victims and in demanding an end to security officials brutalities unless President AkufoAddo is indirectly indicating taking this country back to the dark days he and others claimed they had fought against.

The planned actions are to have the dress of the President held and slightly pulled or have footwear thrown in his direction at a public. The last one which is very sensitive because of animal right activists and is being shelved is to have a pebble placed in a catapult to be lodged in the ear of the Elephant to get it to properly listen and be sensitive and alive to plights.

For this just course of ending abuses, I am borrowing these self-undergirding/complementing quotes;

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” - Dr Martin Luther King

“Justice delayed is justice denied” - William Gladstone